Corsets Vs Basques – Which Is Best?

We all know what a corset is! Corsets have been around for hundreds of years, at one point even being the standard garment for women of all class levels in society.

Today, they’re not nearly so popular but there are still plenty of women who wear them, mostly as lingerie but occasionally as outerwear – they’re particularly popular as a gothic or alternative fashion statement, and as bridal wear!

Basques on the other hand are reserved solely for the bedroom. Even with this so called ‘underwear as outerwear’ trend that’s in all the fashion magazines, I have yet to see a woman walk past me on the street wearing a basque (or a corset for that matter).

So, what’s best? What is, in fact, is even the difference between the two? Let me explain…


What Is It?

Ah, the corset. This sturdy garment is designed to sculpt, shape and slim the female figure, being built with strong steel bones throughout. ‘Fashion’ corsets (designed to look good only, and will not actually do any shaping) may have plastic bones, and in the past corsets were originally made using whalebone, hence the name ‘bones’.

A corset can be overbust or underbust, meaning it either encloses the breasts or finishes just below them so that a bra or pasties can be worn with it.

Most corsets fasten at the front with a steel busk which is a series of metal hooks designed to provide a sturdy reinforcement for a structured shape, and fasten at the back with criss-cross style lacing.

Plus Points

As I mentioned, a high-quality corset with steel bones can actually reduce your waist size by as much as 4 inches, making it perfect when you want to achieve that sexy hourglass figure!

Corsets are great worn as lingerie or as outerwear, and look great teamed with jeans or a pencil skirt, or even worn over the top of a blouse!


If you’re looking for that sculpting effect, you’ll have to pay for it. A cheap corset will probably have plastic bones which won’t give you that hourglass figure you’re after.

Corsets can also be very uncomfortable to wear if you’re not used to them or don’t lke to feel restricted. They’re very tight and it can feel a little hard to eat or move around comfortably when wearing one!

Corsets also have a tendency to ‘squash’ a large chest so if you’re a DD+ you might need to have one custom made to your measurements, which comes with a pretty hefty price tag.


What Is It?

A basque is a form-fitting garment that covers the breasts and goes down to the hips. It usually has built-in cups and can come with or without straps and suspender clips.

A basque also features light boning, often plastic and far fewer bones than in a corset. The bones are there to provide support and very minor shaping, but will not actually reduce your waist at all.

Basques are available with a hook and eye, lace-up or zip-up fastening at the back or front.

Plus Points

Basques are way more comfortable to wear than corsets if you’re a newbie to this sort of lingerie! They provide some support and shaping, but are far more flexible and less restrictive – you can bend over easily in a basque for example, something you may have difficulty doing in a corset.

Basques are just as sexy as corsets and, thanks to the fact that they usually have defined cup sections with underwires, can easily accomodate a larger bust. You can buy a ’34DD’ basque for example, whereas a corset size is based on your waist measurement and won’t take into account your bust size at all.

Basques also tend to be much cheaper than corsets due to the less specialised skills required to manufacture one.


If you want to take some serious inches off your waist, unfortunately a basque won’t help you! They only provide a light shaping effect and aren’t really effective as proper shapewear.


Basques and corsets both have their own benefits so it really comes down to how much you’re willing to spend, and what you hope to get out of it.

If you’ve got a bigger budget and want a garment that combines shapewear with sexy lingerie and can be worn as outerwear too, a corset is for you.

If you’re after an equally sexy but somewhat more comfortable lingerie choice, and don’t have quite so much to spend, a basque is still a lovely lingerie item sure to impress!

What do you prefer out of basques and corsets?